Throughout the compelling career of Britta Curl, the opportunity to be synonymous with winning stands as the hallmark. As a star forward with North Dakota’s Bismarck Blizzard, the result was four fantastic state championships. During that time, also a member of the National Honor Society, she experienced the thrill of wearing the Stars and Stripes, winning a gold medal at the 2018 IIHF Women’s World Championships. Following it up in 2019 with her first NCAA Frozen Four national championship, skating for the revered Wisconsin Badgers, also earning a place on the WCHA All-Rookie Team, it marked the beginning of a highly fulfilling chapter in her hockey odyssey.
A multiple WCHA Scholar Athlete and All-Academic Big Ten, Curl brought a durability to the Badgers. Progressing as a face-off specialist, returning to the championship stage in 2021, the season included numerous highlights. Named an alternate captain, her overtime assist versus the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs clinched the WCHA regular season championship, demonstrating a big game ability that enhanced her leadership.
Serving as team captain for the 2022-23 season, her last in Badgers colors, Curl belonged to a tremendous lineage of wondrous women. Past captains have included the likes of Brooke Ammerman, Grace Bowlby, Meghan Duggan, Sydney McKibbon, Sis Paulsen and Blayre Turnbull, among others.
Undeniably, the opportunity to wear the C on her sweater marked a treasured milestone, one accepted with a combination of honor and responsibility. Approaching it as a personal challenge, entrusted with more than a leadership role, but maintaining a legacy, reaching the summit of a Frozen Four championship as team captain signified her finest achievement, earning a special place in program history.
“I am grateful for any part of helping our team win a national championship, but to be trusted to lead this team this season was extra special and I will be proud of it for the rest of my life.”
This season, Curl’s leadership also translated into statistical excellence. Logging a solid 42 points, surpassing her point total for the previous two seasons, the on-ice performance stood as testament to her commitment as team captain, also evidenced by an impressive 55 blocked shots. Her finest performance in the regular season involved a five-point outburst versus the Bemidji State Beavers on December 2, 2022, part of a dominating 13-1 final. Highlighted by her only hat trick of the season, she logged at least one point in 25 games, resulting in 23 wins.
In the NCAA tournament, Curl contributed eight points. Among the highlights included scoring the game winning goal in the Badgers opening game versus the Long Island University Sharks, who were making their tournament debut. With Curl assisting on goals by Caroline Harvey, the leading scorer for Team USA at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championships, plus Jesse Compher and Laila Edwards, her playmaking skills shone on a day that set the winning tone for the remainder of the tournament.
Defeating the ECAC’s Colgate Raiders by a 4-2 mark in the quarterfinals, Curl contributed with assists on back-to-back goals, providing the Badgers with a lead that would never be relinquished. Fittingly, Curl assisted on the game winning goal, recorded by freshman blueliner Vivian Jungels.
The semifinals, representing the Badgers 14th appearance all-time, found a familiar opponent in their WCHA archrivals, the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Held on St. Patrick’s Day, the clash of dynastic programs required overtime to decide which team would reach the National Championship Game. With Edwards and Sophie Shirley scoring in regulation for the Badgers, the extra frame saw Curl rise to the occasion once again. Collaborating with Compher, the two assisted on Harvey’s game-winning goal, punching their ticket to the biggest stage in NCAA hockey.
Facing off against another WCHA rival for the national championship, the Ohio State Buckeyes entered the Finals as defending champions. With a hard-fought game, resulting in a defensive stalemate, only one goal was scored, as Badgers freshman Kirsten Simms placing the puck past Amanda Thiele in the first. Curl showed tenacity, with a game high four blocked shots. Such an example of unselfish play demonstrated that a player does not always have to score to help their team win.
“I have always taken more pride in the things I do off the score sheet and the teammate I am. Yet, to be rewarded with some personal success feels good knowing that I was able to help our team came away with what we set out to do.”
With such a splendid season culminating in her third Frozen Four title, the magic of the milestone for Curl proved much more special as it was shared. Of note, teammates Natalie Buchbinder, Cami Kronish, the Frozen Four MVP, Nicole LaMantia and Sophie Shirley are intertwined with Curl in Frozen Four legend. All belonging to an exclusive group of Badgers that have enjoyed three national championships in a career, their collaborative efforts represent an era of triumphant brilliance.. Belonging to Badgers rosters that captured titles in 2019, 2021 and 2023, legacies assured, this shared journey stands as the defining element of their careers.
Maintaining the momentum of winning, Curl added another stellar accomplishment to her hockey resume. Enjoying the opportunity to play with USA Hockey once again in an already phenomenal career, there was a strong element of familiarity. Among a sensational seven Badgers on the US roster at the IIHF Women’s World Championships in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, current Badgers Lacey Eden, Caroline Harvey and Nicole LaMantia called Curl a teammate once again.
Skating alongside Badgers legends Hilary Knight, also serving as US captain and Abby Roque, a strong element of school spirit was highly evident. Fittingly, the Badgers factored in the triumphant results of the gold medal game, besting eternal rival Canada in a 6-3 final. Knight led the way with a hat trick, finishing third in tournament scoring, while Harvey contributed a pair of points. Not only did Harvey clinch the tournament scoring title, she earned the Directorate Award for Best Defender.
With the jubilation of an NCAA Frozen Four championship and an IIHF gold medal in less than six weeks, quite possibly the most enjoyable time in Curl’s career, a sense of gratitude rises to the surface. Forever proud of her three national championships, the ability to participate in such a fascinating time was only surpassed by such success enriching a dynasty of on-ice excellence.
“Coming to Wisconsin with an already-cemented legacy of championships and to help bring back three more trophies means the world to me and my classmates. We feel lucky that we were able to be a part of history in this amazing program.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated“